Graduate Student Opportunities

Department of Communication and Sociology

Main Content

Earning a Master of Arts in Communication is more than classrooms, lectures, and papers; it’s about expanding your skills as a communicator and a learner to make a real difference wherever your professional aspirations might lead you. Along with the highest quality instruction and academic experiences, our students have the chance to see practically how what they are learning in the classroom applies to everyday work and living.

Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship in the Communication program offers students many wonderful experiences and opportunities that might not happen any other way. GA’s are uniquely positioned between professors and students, allowing them to catch a glimpse of what it might look like to be a professor, while being able to mentor undergraduate students through the process of learning as you are learning yourself. GA’s work closely with professors in the department on research projects and assisting in classes. They develop both professional and personal relationships that serve them well in various ways as they journey down their career paths in order to reach professional goals. A graduate assistantship is a great financial investment. GA’s receive a discount on their tuition and are paid a monthly stipend. There are many opportunities to travel to conferences to showcase your research through presentations or panel discussions.

Assisting and Teaching

A major part of the graduate assistant’s job is to assist the department and professors in facilitating COMS 211: Speech and Rhetoric, the public speaking course required of all students. In your first year you will be assigned to aid a professor who teaches the course. Your job will be to help them keep up with student assignments, grade tests and speeches, and to be available if students have questions or concerns. This introduces you to the basics teaching, lesson planning and running a classroom.

In your second year of graduate school, GA’s may be presented with the opportunity to teach one or more sections of COMS 211. Whether you are working towards a Ph.D. or not, the teaching experience can help to equip and prepare you to be a more effective communicator and public speaker. It is also a unique way to be involved in the lives of undergraduate students, supporting, encouraging, and ministering to them.

The Speaking Center

Situated upstairs in the library, The Speaking Center is a part of ACU’s new AT&T Learning Studio. The Speaking Center is one of the major tools the Communication program uses to enhance student comprehension, practice, and execution of public speaking skills. As a GA you are the major player in the success of The Speaking Center.

The Speaking Center is a place for anyone on campus to come and receive help and training on any public speaking assignment they have, though it is required for COMS 211 students. GA’s in the Speaking Center assist with thesis writing, outline formation, visual aids, and developing delivery style.

The Speaking Center is also a great way for GA’s to be exposed to lots of different speeches and the many issues students face when they are writing them. It gives you real practice in walking students through the process of writing and delivering a successful public speech which benefits you when you have your own classroom with your own students.

Opportunity for Research

Studying the discipline of human communication is a recently new development in the realm of social sciences. Communication is a growing and dynamic field full of possibilities for research and discovery. The graduate school in Communication is full of opportunities for research whether that is aiding professors in their projects or submitting personal papers and abstracts to conferences hosted all over the country. Our students consistently have their papers accepted to national and regional conferences and they are also asked to sit on panel discussions.

Conferences provide a great way to network with leading professionals in your field while listening to cutting-edge research and theories in human communication.

Study Abroad in Oxford, England

In our globalized and highly connected world, it is so important that students have an understanding and appreciation for different cultures. Every other summer a group of students makes the leap across the “pond” to Oxford, England. Oxford, the medieval English town, is home to one of the world’s most prestigious colleges. Oxford is a unique blend of old and new. Colleges and churches still stand looking much as they did in the middle ages. Small winding streets and local pubs and café’s remind one of a time long since gone by. Oxford is a city steeped in history. But it also boasts one of the most diverse populations in England. Situated only a 45-minute train ride away from London, Oxford is home to scholars, students, and tradesmen. The young college population is bursting with new excitement and new ideas.

While in Oxford our students have the opportunity to live like a local would, immersing themselves in the culture and living day to day in a place that is not your home. While in Oxford students study international relations and international communication adding another layer to this rich experience. Opportunities for personal travel on the weekends make this a month to remember.